Theatre Tunes – Music in surgery can have many benefits!

29 Jul 2020 Anne Marie Fogarty

Share with


Below we examine the linked history of music and surgery and explore the benefit of tunes for surgeons in the operating theatre.

The history of music and healing

As far back as the ancient Greeks, music has been intertwined with health and healing, with Apollo identified as the father of both healing and harmony. 1

The British Medical Journal goes on to say, more recently, research has shown beneficial calming and even pain-relieving effects of music for patients during surgery.1

Is music really played in theatre? And what are the benefits?

Yes, and frequently; Studies conclude that music is played 62-72% of the time in theatre, and most often chosen by the consultant surgeon. 1

The benefits include:

  • Approximately 80% of the operating staff report that music enhances communication between the team.
  • It reduces anxiety levels with a marked improvement in efficiency.
  • Also, music has shown to boost surgical performance by increasing focus intraoperatively.
  • Some studies have proved that music during the procedure can aid healing and recovery for the patient.

What’s your playlist?

It is essential to choose the music you and the team enjoy, don’t find distracting and motivates or calms you during theatre. Some popular tunes, according to Spotify, include:

  1. Rock You Like a Hurricane”—Scorpions
  2. “Sweet Child O’ Mine”—Guns N’ Roses
  3. “Just What The Doctor Ordered”—Ted Nugent
  4. “Break on Through (To the Other Side)”—The Doors
  5. “Paint It Black”—The Rolling Stones
  6. “Whole Lotta Love”—Led Zeppelin
  7. “We Will Rock You”—Queen
  8. “Back in Black”—AC/DC
  9. “Cocaine”—Eric Clapton
  10. “The Wind Cries Mary”—Jimi Hendrix2


Whatever your choice, many find music calming when things get heated while motivational when you need to up the pace.



  1. BMJ-British Medical Journal. “What’s on your surgeon’s playlist?” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2014.


29 Jul 2020 | Leave a comment

Share with socials